Before hiring Rebekah Stevens as his new press secretary, Congressman Steve Pearce had a "frank and straightforward discussion" with the 24-year-old Grant County Republican Party vice chair in which he told her that Stevens' past provocative online rhetoric is unacceptable in a congressional office, the Republican representative told the Albuquerque Journal.
On Wednesday SFR reported that Stevens, under the online nom de guerre @PolitixFireball, sent out frequently inflammatory remarks to her 40,000 followers for more than a year.
Pearce's office wouldn't confirm or deny to SFR whether Stevens was behind @PolitixFireball. That changed Wednesday when Pearce confirmed it to the Journal.
Messages on her Twitter account were "racist, xenophobic, and defamatory tirades," said the progressive advocacy group ProgressNow New Mexico—a frequent target of her attacks. Stevens locked the @PolitixFireball Twitter account before being hired, but ProgressNow saved some of her tweets in which she compares President Obama to Hitler, makes "light of the holocaust ('Jews went up in smoke'), says all Muslims are 'blood-lust' conquerors, equates slavery to abortion, compares political reporters to war criminals," the group said.
"Pearce, asked about the comments in a Journal interview Wednesday, disavowed them and conceded that Stevens’ past online presence was 'very confrontational,'" reports the Journal's Washington-bureau writer Michael Coleman.
“They are not things I would have said,” Pearce told the Journal. “She’s very aware she doesn’t speak for herself anymore. … She’s working in a bigger system, and we all work together here.”
Defending conservative causes, Stevens aggressively badgered reporters, bloggers and politicos on Twitter. Now as Pearce's press secretary, she'll have to interact with the very reporters she insulted under her anonymous online Twitter handle, New Mexico Telegram editor Matthew Riechbach notes.
Her taxpayer-financed annual salary is $35,000, according to the Las Cruces Sun News.
“I want kids working in these offices that have passion for what they’re doing,” Pearce told the Journal. “It’s easier to train restraint than energy and enthusiasm. We always look for work attitudes and work ethics. You can’t train those things.”